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Automobiles

Subaru cuts output by 10,000 vehicles over chip shortage

Assembly lines for Outback and Forester to resume operation by May 10

A Subaru Outback sits on a dealership lot in the U.S. state of Maryland. The automaker will lower production at a key Japanese plant.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Subaru will reduce vehicle production by about 10,000 autos at a Japanese assembly plant as the industry struggles with a shortage of chips.

The Yajima plant in Gunma Prefecture, which builds models including the Outback and Forester, will suspend operations starting Saturday. One line will be idled for 13 workdays, and the other for eight, under plans announced Monday.

The output reduction is not related to the March 19 fire at a chipmaking plant run by Japan's Renesas Electronics, according to Subaru. The fire has worsened the auto industry's chip shortage and forced Toyota Motor and Nissan Motor to cut production.

All lines at the Yajima plant will restart by May 10 following the Golden Week holidays, with Subaru expecting to procure the necessary chips by then.

Operations will continue at Subaru's main plant in Gunma, northwest of Tokyo, which has a single auto assembly line.

Subaru's Gunma factories built 664,000 vehicles in fiscal 2019. The earnings impact of the production cuts has "yet to be determined," the company said.

The automotive industry is being squeezed by a lack of semiconductor devices. In one of the latest responses, Suzuki Motor temporarily shut down lines at two assembly plants in Japan's Shizuoka Prefecture on Monday.

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